Buttercream Wont Tint...help!

Decorating By Kimmie_Cake Updated 3 Oct 2015 , 12:06am by -K8memphis

Kimmie_Cake Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 9:22pm
post #1 of 18

Hi guys. I made a huge batch of Swiss Meringue Buttercream and flavored it using LorAnn Oil flavoring, but when I tried to tint the buttercream after it was made it will not hold any color. Is this because the flavoring I used is oil based? I tried Wilton's gel paste colors as well as regular food coloring and NOTHING is working. icon_cry.gif I'm supposed to tint some of it green and some brown to frost a jungle themed cake tonight. Is there any way to do this using the batch of buttercream I already made or do I need to start fresh and add the color during the mixing process? Please help guys!! THANK YOU!!

17 replies
FromScratchSF Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 9:31pm
post #2 of 18

Hello Kimmie,

SMBC is tricky to tint - you have to use candy colors, not your regular wilton gel colors. Reason - when you tint crusting buttercream the color grabs onto the sugar crystals of the powdered sugar. With a meringue buttercream there are no crystals for it to grab, so you need to tint the fat. Hence, oil colors.

I have heard people having success taking a spoonful or so of SMBC, adding a ton of gel color to it, pop it in the micro to melt and heat up a bit, let it come back to room temperature then add it into the big batch of buttercream, but I have not personally tried this method.

Good luck,

Jen

DeniseNH Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 9:34pm
post #3 of 18

I use Italian Meringue Buttercream and can tint it a pale color but it doesn't take to medium or darker colors well at all. You should be able to tint it green with Wilton Gel colors - no problem - you just need quite a bit but the brown - try melted dark chocolate and add it into the room temp icing (not cold) then add more gel colors. For some reason adding cocoa powder - breaks down the icing and makes it soupy - if this happens add one more stick of room temp unsalted butter.

Kimmie_Cake Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 9:36pm
post #4 of 18

Would an Italian Meringue Buttercream work better for tinting? Would this hold up better in the heat and humidity as well? I'm pretty new at this and it was my first attempt at making my own buttercream so it's a live and learn situation. However, I do need the tinted frosting tonight for a party in the park tomorrow, so all your help is appreciated.

DeniseNH Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 9:39pm
post #5 of 18

IMBC is good to 82 degrees and is not recommended for outdoor or park weddings. For anything outside you need to cover the cake in standard Wilton buttercream or fondant to prevent a meltdown. IMBC is good for lighter to medium colors but not dark - for dark colors you need a Wilton Buttercream or a fondant.

Kimmie_Cake Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 9:44pm
post #6 of 18

Thank you both so much. I guess I'm gonna have to cover it in fondant after all so I can get the right colors as well as the right hold for a heated event. icon_smile.gif

DeniseNH Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 9:46pm
post #7 of 18

That's the best plan. Save the Swiss or Italian buttercream for cooler Fall - Winter or early spring wearther.

FromScratchSF Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 9:57pm
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimmie_Cake

Would an Italian Meringue Buttercream work better for tinting? Would this hold up better in the heat and humidity as well? I'm pretty new at this and it was my first attempt at making my own buttercream so it's a live and learn situation. However, I do need the tinted frosting tonight for a party in the park tomorrow, so all your help is appreciated.




It's not tinting the way you expect because you are adding a water-based color to all fat. There is nothing for the water color to latch on to in a meringue buttercream, be it made in the Swiss, French or Italian method. Sure you can keep dumping color in but you'll taste the color and your buttercream will start looking granulated with specks of color.

I personally don't tint my SMBC because adding the smallest amount of color alters the flavor, AND oil-based candy colors are expensive. If I need vivid colors I do fondant accents or royal icing.

Jen

MBalaska Posted 8 Sep 2014 , 3:46am
post #9 of 18

Quote:

Originally Posted by FromScratchSF 

".....SMBC is tricky to tint - you have to use candy colors, not your regular wilton gel colors. Reason - when you tint crusting buttercream the color grabs onto the sugar crystals of the powdered sugar. With a meringue buttercream there are no crystals for it to grab, so you need to tint the fat. Hence, oil colors..........."

 

Well I'll be a blue nosed gopher!!  :razz:  no matter what subject I arrive at, when I start searching I find answers to my questions.

 

In trying to make the three colored camo cake it took a lot of coloring to get the SMBC dark.  I rarely color it more than a nice soft pastel.   You can see the spots of color. 

 

Jen you are one of the walking encyclopedias of baking & decorating.  Thanks again for posting your knowledge.

Cheers,

mb

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 8 Sep 2014 , 5:45am
post #10 of 18

AHmm. Makes me even more inclined to stick with my dense, hand-blended ABC. And mostly pastel colors.

Pastrybaglady Posted 8 Sep 2014 , 6:17am
post #11 of 18

Quote:

Originally Posted by FromScratchSF 




It's not tinting the way you expect because you are adding a water-based color to all fat. There is nothing for the water color to latch on to in a meringue buttercream, be it made in the Swiss, French or Italian method. Sure you can keep dumping color in but you'll taste the color and your buttercream will start looking granulated with specks of color.
 

 

Has anyone ever tried tinting the egg whites and sugar while they are on the stove before the addition of fat?  I wonder if you could achieve more vibrant color that way...

winniemog Posted 8 Sep 2014 , 6:35am
post #12 of 18

A

Original message sent by Pastrybaglady

Has anyone ever tried tinting the egg whites and sugar while they are on the stove before the addition of fat?  I wonder if you could achieve more vibrant color that way...

I was just wondering that myself. When I make macarons I use the Italian method, which starts with an Italian meringue which is then worked into an egg white-almond meal paste to make the mix. To colour these, I add the colour to the Italian meringue, which is easier to blend an even colour than the final mixture. It should work, I hope someone tries it soon. I don't have any dark SMBCs coming up in the near future!

And thanks Jen, I was wondering why the SMBC wouldn't take the gel colouring. I can't believe that I didn't think of using oil-based colours instead!

MBalaska Posted 8 Sep 2014 , 7:23am
post #13 of 18

All I know is that I felt like Rosanna Danna Danna and I wanted to say "Oh never mind!".  I finally got the  SMBC to smooth down and then the color was splotchy.  The color was beautiful in the mixing bowl. :???:   Sheesh

-K8memphis Posted 8 Sep 2014 , 11:28am
post #14 of 18

AFor camo I would either air brush or use cocoa powder and americolors -- and I'd just be satisfied with softer mixed colors --

-K8memphis Posted 8 Sep 2014 , 12:07pm
post #15 of 18

AI have a set of powdered colors too come to think if it --

MBalaska Posted 8 Sep 2014 , 10:32pm
post #16 of 18

Started the coloring with Americolor gels and got a beautiful soft pastel color; added touches of sifted cocoa powder to give it the muddy tint (as these cakes are really not in the pretty cutsie category of cakes.) then added powdered colors to try to intensify & deepen the color a bit more.   spot splotch.

 

As I have some oil based candy/chocolate colors already in the cupboard, I'm happy to give them a try next time around I color SMBC.  And if SMBC simply does not lend itself to darker colors then that is A-OK also, as you say. 

MilkNHoney84 Posted 2 Oct 2015 , 11:22pm
post #17 of 18

I know this post is really old, but I had great success coloring my SMBC with Wilton gel food color. I was making grass colored icing for soccer cupcakes so I used Kelly green and added about half a cup of powdered sugar to the SMBC and got a vivid green
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-K8memphis Posted 3 Oct 2015 , 12:06am
post #18 of 18

well done, milknhoney and thank you

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